So what exactly is meant by setting digital boundaries? Well, when it comes to social media, the lines between personal and the professional can become blurred. Brands use these platforms to meet their audiences in their own environments, and in doing so, enter a space where etiquette and standards regarding engagement can become grey.

On social media, boundaries for brands refer to those set frameworks that define how a brand may or may not interact with others in the digisphere.

In order to set these frameworks, the marketing team, stakeholders and company employees should meet up and discuss what image the business wants to portray. Once these questions are answered, the necessary rules can be put into place.

This can include whether or not the brand should get involved in controversial topics, share consumers’ information and if (as well as how) they will react to trolls on social media. Once these decisions have been made, it is vital for everyone at the company to stick to those rules.

media update’s Talisa Carlson takes a look at why setting digital boundaries in the 21st century is so important.

Ready to create some margins? Then let’s get into it:

1. Digital boundaries help draw the line

Having digital boundaries allows for clear lines to be drawn for both your company employees and consumers. This is important because brands are permanently in the spotlight; accidentally crossing a line can cause serious damage to the company's reputation. Lines are set in place to avoid this from happening.

When it comes to setting boundaries, there are a few questions that your brand can ask to decipher its own standing in participating online. Here are three to consider:
  • Does your brand support controversial topics?
  • If it does, is it being authentic about the issue at hand?
  • If you don’t support a certain topic, does the company talk about it or simply stay quiet?
A backlash situation is easily started, and your brand is likely to encounter it one way or another – regardless of whether you have chosen to support or avoid any given controversial topic. With this in mind, rather be prepared and know how to respond appropriately when it does happen.

If you decide that your brand will not discuss any controversial topics, add it in a disclaimer and set that boundary as early on as you can. If your brand chooses to engage, be prepared for potential backlash and know how to deal with it before you interact.

For example, the Black Lives Matter movement had a lot of brands showing their support and others didn't. This influenced how consumers viewed their favourite brands. Therefore it is important to set that boundary and uphold it, because your audience notices what you say and how you react.

2. Digital boundaries help you avoid legal issues

With the POPI Act now in full swing in South Africa, sharing, storing or selling a person’s personal information to other entities has become a whole lot more complicated.

By setting digital boundaries for your brand, you will be able to steer clear of landing in hot water because employees now have guidelines to follow. It’s all about preemptively avoiding potential legal issues that could ruin your reputation.

This means that, as a brand, you need to make your values clear from the start to your consumers. You also need to ensure that other parties such as other companies, clients and even authorities know that you don’t unlawfully share or store personal information about your customers.

Your brand should also take additional care when posting anything on social media — before you hit that share button, be sure that personal information about consumers or employees is not being given away.

3. Digital boundaries set the standard

Having specific rules in place will ensure that your brand sets a certain standard that the public can expect and learn from. For example, if your brand does not roast consumers or comment sarcastically on negative comments, this is a digital boundary that you are setting online.

But, not every brand has the same perspectives about engagement on social media. Where your brand will not engage sarcastically at all, one such as Wendy’s will. There are no limits to who it will roast or call out on social media, but this is the standard that it has set for its brand image.

*Image courtesy of Bored Panda

It is important to note that this standard is something consumers really enjoy about Wendy’s Twitter feed and sets it apart from other brands. But if you want your brand to be represented in a more formal light, then commenting on negative comments should be done in a different way. For example, you could keep a more professional and serious tone of voice when responding to comments.

What are some other reasons why you think brands should set online boundaries? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below.

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If you are looking to push some boundaries be sure to do it the right way, learn more about The 411 on disruptive marketing.
*Image courtesy of Canva